Suffering Spiritual Trials

St Agnes by Tintoretto

Archbishop William Ullathorne offers these words of hope for those who suffer spiritual trials:

“The darkness of trial is not evil, that dryness of spirit is not sin, that confusion of mind is not malice. They are invitations to patience, calls to resignation, beckonings to the healing cross, admonitions to be humble and obedient to the will of God.”

“Faith is asked to adhere with patience to God in the dark; but this is the perfection of faith. Hope is called upon to cleave with trust to the good which, though present, is neither sensibly felt nor seen; but this is the sublimity of hope. Charity asks in those hours of desolation for the substance rather than the accidents of the love of God; for the pure will and desire of love without its sensibilities; for patient conformity with Christ crucified and desolate; for the courageous desire of God without the reward of present delight. The test of this brave and vigorous love lies in the earnestness of its desire and in the patience of its resignation.”

“Yet God is secretly present with the soul, and whilst that suffering soul is humbled in the consciousness of her infirmity, in reward for her patience she receives a secret strength and peace, infused into the depths of her spirit, of which she is not altogether unconscious.” (Christian Patience)

Regarding temporal suffering, he observes: “Holy souls have the power of quietly transforming inflicted sufferings into sanctity.” (Endowments of Man)

As for eternal suffering, he assures us: “There is no eternal suffering for those who have faith, hope, and charity: no, never, for those who believe, who hope, and who love God. Whatever sins one may have committed, and against whatever light, and under whatever circumstances, the change of the heart, with the grace of the sacraments, removes them all. Such is the power of the divine mystery of Redemption. The grace of Jesus brought home to our souls removes our sins, although, for our humiliation, their memory remains, as well as for keeping us watchful and penitent. (Letter in Memoirs of Lady Chatterton)

Quotations from Michael F. Glancey, Characteristics From the Writings of Archbishop Ullathorne (London: Burns & Oates, 1889).

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